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dixiemay
dixiemay asks:
Q:

My 10 year old sons teammates don't like him.

My son has played baseball since he has been 5.  It is the love of his life.  He is a good player not the best but definately not the worst.  This year he tried out for a select team and made it.  Not sure why but the majority of his teammates dont like him and he is very aware of it.  They make fun of him, laugh at him, and always are talking crap to him. Some of the boys wont even warm up with him before the game and throw the ball with him. He is a shy kid and doesn't talk back but I know it bothers him.  He has told me it does.  I just dont get it.  We have never had this problem with any other team before.  It is a few punk boys that start it and then others jump of the band wagon.  When he is alone with one of his teammates there are no problems. There are boys that strike out a lot and nothing is said to them but if my son  strikes out  they just talk down on him.  He will talk back to them after a while and tell them to shut up.  The coach doesn't really care that this is happening.  We are with these boys all the time about 3 days during the week and everything weekend playing baseball.  We are going to finish out the season and more than likely move on.  But we hate to run from a problem and I would appreciate any suggestions since this has never happend to us before.
In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Sports and athletics
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 16, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Hello,

What an incredibly frustrating situation for you and your son. I can understand why he would be bothered by this.  Bullying certainly can happen anywhere, including the baseball diamond.  It is a safe bet that many of the kids on the team do like him and would leave him alone if it wasn't for just one or two kids who decided to make him a target.  Do you happen to know any of the other kids on the team or their families?  Finding a peer who could just be there for him when these things happen may be a huge help for your son, even if it doesn't stop the bullying from occurring.  Having a friend makes a huge difference.  Having two friends would be even better if you can somehow connect them outside of the baseball setting in a smaller group.  It also may be a good idea to talk with the coach.  It may not be that he doesn't care, it may be that doesn't know what to do about it so he chooses to do nothing.  He may fear that if he intervenes, it will only get worse for your son.  Maybe a sit down with the coach to problem solve the situation would be useful.  Are there any other league officials that you could talk to?  Maybe an umpire or an administrative person?  Not to get anybody into trouble but just to see if there were any rules or policies in place that would help everybody figure out the appropriate way to proceed.  

The good news in this situation is that eventually the season will end and you will be able to move on, so it is about getting through this one day at a time.  Continue to support your son, empower him to try different things that may help as long as he is comfortable, and let him know that you and many other people are there for him and care about him.  And by removing your son from this team you are not running away, you are taking him out of an unhealthy environment where there is not proper supervision or structure.  It would be even worse to keep him somewhere that this is happening.  

Bullying situations such as these are complicated and it can take awhile to get everybody on the same page to create a safe environment, but it is worth a shot.  Talk to the coach or another adult involved with the team.  Take things one day at a time with your son and help him navigate through this difficult time by trying to give him as many positive experiences and relationships as possible.

Take care!

Counselor, Dominic
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Additional Answers (2)

Midnight431
Midnight431 writes:
Maybe your son should maybe do some of the things that the other kids are doing not talking crap or anything like that but maybe offering to toss the ball with them. Or playing some games with them. And you should really talk to the coach and tell him/her that the boys are fighting and teasing your son.
> 60 days ago

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mleano8
mleano8 , Student writes:
Hi Dixiemay,

This sounds like a tough situation for you and your son and I'm sorry he has to go through it.  I'm not sure if your son's teammates have been playing together on this team in previous years, but it could help explain why they seem to be isolating your son. It's not uncommon for kids who've played together and forged relationships on a team, to shun or give the “new guy” a hard time.  Not saying that it's right, but it could be the reason they've been so cold and unwelcoming to your son.

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about directly changing the way those boys act towards your son. But there are things you and your son can do within your own “Circle of Influence” to shape things you do have control over. For one thing, maybe these kids have misread your sons shyness as being “too cool” and in turn, act negatively towards him. I could suggest trying to get your son to be more friendly/open towards these boys. He could try asking a couple of the ones he feels more comfortable with, to warm-up and practice together...build a little bit more rapport & comfort. Maybe if he opens up a little and befriends some of his teammates, the others might follow or at least be more positive. On the flip side to that, I know this is a classic case of “easier said than done”. I know that being 10, and trying to make friends/reaching out to boys who consistently taunt, tease, and bully you, is no easy task. But at least you and your son will both know that he tried to be a part of the solution instead of running away from the problem.  

Just as important, I absolutely think you should talk to the coach. It is his responsibility to teach these kids the practices of good sportsmanship. He should not condone nor turn his head the other way to this type of behavior. To me, his actions (or lack there of) is much more unacceptable than what these boys are doing. As a coach for very young athletes, it's extremely important for him to to instill the principles of being a good teammate. Instead, he seems to be standing idly and letting these kids develop habits of poor sportsmanship. He doesn't have to expect/make these other boys like your son. That's not fair. But he should have expectations for each of his players to treat each other with respect & dignity. He needs to cultivate an environment that is safe, positive, & fun for everyone. Allowing kids to taunt their own teammate is detrimental not only to your son, but to his teammates as well. Moreover, baseball is one of the most mentally difficult sports to play and I'd hate to see something like this adversely affect your son's first love.

In short, no matter what happens, the best thing for your son to do is to continue to be the best player and teammate he can be. This is something he will carry with him as he continues to grow as an athlete and a person. Secondly, the coach must be aware of what is going on and address the issue. It's not fair to your son and to anyone else on that team to let this negative energy build within the team. Hopefully your son will continue to play baseball and I wish you and your family the best of luck! :)
> 60 days ago

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